Surfing has always offered a time of reflection for me.

From contemplating life’s twists and turns to working through conundrums at work, the act of surfing and the peaceful calm of sitting in the water between waves offers a place of sanctuary, a quiet that allows my mind to drift and eventually find clarity.

Some people experience such solace in a church setting; others, including many surfers I know, seek inspiration and communion with nature, immersed in a briny ocean surrounded by dolphins, pelicans and a marine environment teeming with life.

Life transitions—a death in the family, a milestone birthday, a looming graduation—have all been recent fodder for rumination while enjoying the salty solution. Every time, the ocean provides answers in the form of reminders about impermanence and the importance of fully living in the here and now.

The immediacy of seeing a wave loom just ahead, the effort required to paddle onto the moving wall of water and the unmistakable rush of sliding down the wave face helps ground me in the present.

For me, riding waves provides a respite from the rush of daily life and gives just enough pause to implore me to seize the moment. Yesterday’s reminder, delivered while blazing across a wave face on my favorite shortboard, was particularly poignant given the loss of a member of my family over the past week. The prompt was simple and direct: Make every second count because tomorrow is never guaranteed.

As the wave came to its end, exhausting its energy against the sandy shore, I couldn’t help but feel a profound sense of gratitude for surfing and the lessons it imparts each time I’m in the water.


Strong south to southeast winds built waist- to chest-high surf for much of the past week. Those winds are expected to relax this weekend and allow the Gulf to calm down quite a bit. Hopefully, this wind swell will stick around long enough to give us clean conditions over the next few days.

During this fun run of waves, several locals were seen ripping it up at breaks all along Seawall Boulevard. Notables included Brandon Hardin, Adam Garrison, Gabriel Prusmack, Luke Smith, Kris Hopkins, Michael “Bronson” Hilliard, Nathan Rouse, Joe Wiard, Brett Hopkins and H.P. Dodge.

Speaking of H.P., congratulations to the acclaimed local artist and his fiance Giselle Yeung, an equally talented photographer, on their upcoming wedding. Wishing you much joy and happiness in your future together.

Stephen Hadley is a longtime surfer who lives and works in Galveston. If you have an idea for this column, email him at

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